We were delighted to welcome the First Minister to one of our Sycamore children’s homes in Fife recently, after the young people invited her to their house for tea.
The young people wrote a letter to the First Minister to tell her they wanted to share their views about what changes they think need to happen to improve the care system in Scotland.
In their letter to the First Minister they said:
“All our journeys through the care system are unique and have helped shape us into the people that we are today. We are all excited at the prospect of you coming to our home for dinner and would like to use this unique opportunity to speak to you about some of the changes that we feel should be made within the care system.”
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, came to the house for dinner with the six young people who live there, members of staff and Aberlour Chief Executive, SallyAnn Kelly. She was treated to mince’n’tatties – and chocolate cake for pudding. The young people spoke to her about living with Aberlour and their experiences in care. They showed her their bedrooms and even got her to show off her hula-hooping skills!
Samantha, one of the young people said about the visit:
“I was really nervous for you meeting you as you had lots of people with you, but you were really nice and I liked showing you my bedroom.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“It was a real honour to be invited for dinner at the Aberlour Sycamore Service, and to receive such a warm and hospitable welcome from young people at the home.”
“I have made a commitment to listen to as many care experienced children and young people as possible – and visiting the Sycamore Service was a fantastic chance to hear some of their experiences first-hand.”
In 2016, the First Minister announced that there would be ‘a root and branch review’ of the care system in Scotland and committed to creating a system that puts love for children and young people at its heart. In 2017 the Independent Care Review was established to undertake that review, led by Fiona Duncan, Chief Executive of the Corra Foundation, as its Chair. Aberlour has continued to support children and young people we work with who are looked after or have experience of being in care, to contribute to the Review by sharing their experiences and highlighting what they think could improve the care system.
At Aberlour, we aim to make sure the children and young people who live with us feel loved by the adults who work with them. Our children’s homes offer a safe and loving place to live, for children who have experienced abuse and trauma. Each of our homes across Scotland provide a stable home for vulnerable children who are unable to live with their families. We take a therapeutic approach to helping them. This means we support them to understand and overcome their trauma. With our help, they can go on to live happy lives.
We have five homes across Fife and three in the Highlands.